Combatting Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do the colder temperatures and shorter days leave you feeling less than 100%? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the changing of the seasons and affects an estimated five percent of the U.S. population each year.  Sometimes referred to as the “winter blues”, this type of depression affects women at a much higher rate… four out of five people who suffer from SAD are women. While it is seen more and more the further one lives from the equator, Seasonal Affective Disorder can occur anywhere and, although far less often, anytime the seasons change including summertime.


The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are similar in nature to the symptoms of any other type of depression and include low energy, loss of interest in activities, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating and feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of death or suicide. In addition, SAD symptoms might include a craving for carbohydrates, overeating, weight gain, oversleeping or even feelings of heaviness in arms and legs.


The causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder typically stem from the reduced level of sunlight in the fall and winter months. This reduction in natural light has been shown to affect the level of serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter that plays an essential role in regulating mood, in the brain. Melatonin, a sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, has also been linked to seasonal depression. This hormone is produced at increased levels in the dark so when the days are shorter and darker, the production of melatonin increases. Melatonin can also affect an individual’s circadian rhythm, or “biological clock”, resulting in interruption of usual sleep/wake rhythms, which can cause some of the symptoms associated with seasonal depression.


On a positive note, since seasonal depression has a pattern of reoccurrence, there are opportunities for prevention. Some suggestions for prevention include increased exercise, meditation and stress management techniques, spending more time outside when possible and light therapy at home before symptoms begin.


It is important to know that depression is incredibly common and there is no shame in seeking treatment. In fact, often the symptoms of depression can be reversed so it is critical to discuss the feeling of depression with your doctor. And treatment does not have to rely on pills or other pharmaceuticals… care plans such as Chiropractic Neurology have shown to be highly effective for the treatment of depression without drugs. Misalignments in the body can cause neurological and chemical imbalances. Your Chiropractic Neurologist is an expert in uncovering impacts to the nervous system, regulating brain chemistry and restoring balance to potentially relieve symptoms and improve the overall quality of life.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression, whether it is seasonal in nature or otherwise, the team at Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center can help. Contact us today for more information.

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